3 Best Ways to Adjust Brightness on External Monitor in Windows 10


Connecting an external display to your Windows 10 laptop or desktop can enhance productivity by giving you more screen real estate. But, controlling the brightness on these external monitors is not as straightforward as changing the brightness on your PC screen.

The brightness controls under Power Options or Display Settings in Windows 10 will only adjust the brightness of your laptop display. They do not affect the external monitor brightness.

How to adjust brightness in Windows 10? Let’s look at the three best methods.

1. Use the Monitor’s On-Screen Display Menu

The first and most direct way is to change the backlight brightness from the external monitor’s own settings. Most external displays come with an On-Screen Display (OSD) menu that offers configuration options. Here are the steps to use it:

Access the Monitor’s Menu

Look for small buttons on the bottom or side of your monitor with icons like sun (increase brightness) and moon (decrease brightness). Pressing these buttons will open the monitor’s OSD menu. Alternatively, some monitors may have a tiny joystick or D-pad to navigate the menu. Monitor OSD buttons to open the settings menu.

Navigate to the Brightness Setting

Once the menu is up, go to the option related to Brightness, Luminosity, Backlight, etc. This is commonly found under a section like Image Settings, Color Settings, or Luminance. Use the monitor’s controls to navigate to this setting. Locating the Brightness adjustment in the monitor’s OSD.

Adjust the Brightness

When you reach the brightness or backlight control, use the monitor’s buttons to increase or decrease the level as per your preference. Once set, confirm the new brightness level by pressing OK/Apply on the monitor. The external display brightness will change instantly based on your adjustment.

Close the OSD Menu

After you have finished adjusting, close the OSD menu on your monitor. Most monitors will automatically close after a few seconds if no new changes are made. And you’re done! Using your monitor’s own settings gives you direct control over its brightness level. This method works for any external display like monitors, smart TVs, projectors, etc.

Key Benefits of Using Monitor OSD Menu:

  • Works for any external display device
  • Persists even when the monitor is disconnected and reconnected
  • Allows fine-grained control through brightness scale
  • No additional software required

2. Try Using Windows 10 Night Light

If your external monitor does not have OSD buttons or they are not working, Windows 10 itself offers a nifty workaround. The Night Light feature in Windows, which tints your screen amber to reduce eyestrain, can also be used to control brightness on an external display.

Here are the steps to try it out:

Set Projection Mode to Second Screen Only

Right-click on your desktop and select ‘Display Settings’. Go to the Multiple Displays sections and set the Projection mode to ‘Second Screen Only’. This will extend your desktop to the external monitor and turn off the laptop screen.

Enable Night Light

Now go to Settings > System > Display > Night Light Settings. Toggle ‘Turn On Now’. You will see the external monitor screen get a yellow tint instantly.

Adjust Intensity

Drag the slider below to adjust the Night Light intensity. This will effectively change the brightness level of your external display. Finding the perfect Night Light intensity will enable you to set your desired brightness level for the external monitor. Using Windows 10 Night Light to change external display brightness When done, you can disable Night Light or keep it on if you want the anti-eyestrain effect.

Key Advantages of Using Night Light Trick:

  • Works even if the external monitor lacks brightness controls
  • Lets you adjust brightness indirectly
  • Gets rid of harsh blue light for a warmer display tone
  • Conveniently accessible through Windows itself

3. Try Third-Party Apps Like ClickMonitorDDC or Monitorian

If the above two methods do not give you satisfactory control over your external monitor’s brightness, third-party apps are your next option. Utilities like ClickMonitorDDC and Monitorian allow changing the brightness on external displays from Windows, provided the monitor supports DDC/CI brightness control.

Here’s how to use them:

Install and Launch the Desktop App

Go to the website of ClickMonitorDDC or Monitorian and get the latest version. Install and launch the app. ClickMonitorDDC runs in the system tray, while Monitorian has its own interface.

Select External Monitor and Adjust Brightness

The app will show your connected external displays under their model names. Click on one and move the brightness slider up or down as needed. Some apps also let you sync the brightness levels of multiple monitors. The brightness level percentage is displayed alongside.

Keep App Running

Make sure to keep the app running in the background. If you close it, the external monitor brightness will reset to default. Using Monitorian to control external display brightness

Key Benefits of Third-Party Apps:

  • Provide fine-grained brightness adjustment
  • Let you synchronize brightness across monitors
  • Offer advanced settings like screen dimming, keyboard shortcuts, etc.
  • Retain brightness settings for that display even when reconnected

Additional Tips for Managing External Display Brightness

Here are some additional tips to handle brightness comfortable on your external monitor:

  • Set the monitor to its native resolution for the best brightness range
  • Position the external monitor properly to avoid glare and reflections
  • Match the brightness level of the external display to your laptop screen
  • Use a lower brightness at night to avoid eye strain
  • Adjust monitor settings like contrast and RGB for better brightness balance
  • Clean the monitor screen periodically to prevent dust buildup affecting the brightness

And that’s it! With these handy methods, you can easily control and customize the brightness on your external monitor connected to a Windows 10 PC. No more squinting at an overly bright monitor.

Brightness control is just one aspect of effectively setting up and managing external displays. So be sure to also check tips for resolution scaling, orientation, placement, and other critical settings to create the ultimate multiple monitor workspace!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about changing the brightness level on an external monitor connected to a Windows 10 computer:

Q. Why is my external monitor brightness control not working in Windows?

A. Try toggling the monitor button to switch inputs. Also, check if the brightness slider is not grayed out in Windows display settings. Reconnecting the display cable and updating your GPU drivers can help, too.

Q. How do I stop Windows 10 from automatically adjusting external monitor brightness?

A. Go to System > Display settings. Turn off ‘Change brightness automatically when lighting changes’ under Brightness and Color.

Q. Can I set separate brightnesses for my laptop screen and external monitor?

A. Yes, Windows 10 allows you to configure each display independently via the brightness sliders in the display settings.

Q. Will closing the laptop lid turn off the external monitor?

A. No, your external display will remain powered on when you close the lid. Only the laptop screen will switch off.

Q. Why does my external monitor have a yellow tint when I lower the brightness?

A. Lower brightness can sometimes add a yellowish hue on some monitors. Try adjusting the RGB color settings on the monitor itself to compensate.

Q. Can I control external monitor brightness using my keyboard?

A. Yes, F1-F12 keys are often mapped to control brightness on connected displays. Fn + F1/F2 will lower/increase the brightness.

Q. Is it bad to set the monitor brightness to 100%?

A. A very high brightness can strain your eyes quicker. Optimal brightness is between 50-80% during the day and lower at night.

So those are the most common questions around modifying brightness on your external display in Windows 10. Adjusting this appropriately will surely improve your viewing experience!

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